EMIS 2017 Journal Articles 2017

Prevalence and risk factors for transactional sex among Swedish-born and foreign-born MSM in Sweden

BMC Public Health 2022; 22:2412. (doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14764-8)

Authors: Sara Causevic, Mariano Salazar, Anna Mia Ekström, Torsten Berglund, Kristina Ingemarsdotter Persson, Mikael Jonsson, Jonas Jonsson, Susanne Strömdahl



Little is known about transactional sex (TS) (selling and buying sex) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Sweden, especially among foreign-born MSM. This study aims to assess the prevalence and risk fac- tors of TS (ever and in the previous five years) among MSM living in Sweden and to determine if there is a difference between Swedish-born MSM and foreign-born MSM.


Swedish data from a multicountry online banner survey (EMIS-2017) was used (= 4443). Multivariable regression analysis was applied to analyse the data.


The prevalence of ever-selling sex among all MSM participants was 13.2% and 5.9% in the previous five years. Selling sex ever and in the previous five years was higher among foreign-born MSM (16% and 8.4%, respec- tively) than Swedish-born MSM (12.7% and 5.4%, respectively). Among all participants, younger age (aOR:3.19, 95% CI:1.57–6.45) and really struggling to live on current income (aOR:3.37, 95% CI:2.29–4.96) increased the odds of selling sex. Being foreign-born MSM (aOR:1.33, 95% CI:1.02–1.73) and having had sex with a woman in the previous 12 months increased the odds of selling sex (aOR:1.44, 95% CI:1.00–2.07).

The prevalence of ever buying sex among MSM participants in Sweden was 10.8% and 6.7% in the previous five years, with the same trend among foreign-born MSM (11.6% and 6.9%, respectively) and Swedish-born MSM (10.7% and 6.6%, respectively). Higher education and not having a current partner increased the odds of buying sex. Younger age was protective for buying sex (aOR:0.05, 95% CI:0.02–0.14). Among the foreign-born MSM, the length of stay in Sweden decreased the odds of buying sex (aOR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96–0.99).


The comparatively high prevalence of TS among MSM participants in Sweden, where buying sex is illegal, with a higher prevalence among foreign-born MSM participants, calls for sexual and reproductive health and rights interventions in this population. Increased attention, including HIV prevention programming and education, should be aimed at younger MSM, MSM struggling with their current income, and foreign-born MSM, as they are more likely to report selling sex.

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